South Korea to Get Payment Holiday

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NEW YORK: As bankers all over the world huddle over what to do about South Korea's currency sinkhole, a trio of big U.S. banks are reportedly ready to get generous. The Wall Street Journal said Monday that Chase Manhattan, J.P. Morgan and Citicorp are hammering out details of loan extensions to their troubled counterparts in Seoul, and could reach an agreement sometime this week. Similar talks were held among ten Japanese lenders Monday.

A rollover of the majority of loans would keep South Korea functioning while Seoul struggles with the conditions of the IMF bailout and works on its own reform plans even as its presidency changes hands. Certainly, the direction of the New York talks would have been welcome news for the Korea’s investors Monday — had they been trading, that is. The market that trades even on Saturdays will be closed all week, reopening Jan. 3. By then, 1998 may look a little rosier.